Tuesday, 17 August 2010

HHCC vs Gamecox

An absolutely brilliant game of cricket down at the Heath on Sunday, witnessed in part by none of other than England captain Andrew Strauss, again. I have to say I think I bowled rather well, and by all accounts the second spinner's berth is wide open for the forthcoming Ashes tour to Australia – coincidence? You do the math...

Anyway, to the cricket, and it genuinely was one of the best games I've played for the Heath in, ooh, probably about a decade now. Reassuringly returning as captain, Charlie won the toss and we elected to field. Gamecox made a quick start, after a speculative and expensive solitary over from Ben Sonley, but were then pegged back by the accuracy of Jez and Brad, who also picked up two wickets.

From there, Charlie turned to the spinners – myself and Richard Austin, and we proceeded to wheel away for pretty much the rest of the Gamecox innings. After a poor start, Henry suggested that my right arm was getting too low, and thereafter I found a decent rhythm and a level of accuracy that had been markedly missing for the past few games. I got a couple of deliveries to really zip and turn, and picked up two wickets off a nice, long 11 over spell – of course these were off the rankest balls I bowled, but then such is the way with leg-spin (it could have been four were it not for two dropped chances at mid-off...).

At the other end Richard bowled tidily and also found some turn to pick up two wickets himself, and at the tea break, Gamecox were 183 for 6 – a gettable target, although it would have been nice to take more wickets. We were thwarted here by a gentleman of no less than 71, who made a composed 40-odd.

Capper and Haddock started the Heath response in solid style, putting on yet another half-century opening stand. But when both fell in consecutive balls from the oppo's unlikely-looking medium pacer, and then Matt and Napes followed soon after, we looked in some trouble.

Fortunately Richard and Ben strode to the rescue with a partnership of sensible accumulation. Even though Ben took some time to get going, Richard was aggressive against the Gamecox spinners, and runs began to flow. During their partnership there was a nice moment of controversy as I wided their off-spinner (the captain's son). Both were none too impressed (although the ball was pretty rank) – my guess is that Capper's shout from the boundary of “great decision, Tom!” probably didn't help too much... Just as Ben looked set however, there was a bit of a mix-up and he was run out in slightly ignominious fashion.

But Richard kept on going to reach his half-century off just 35 balls, and some big shots from Brad and Spence brought the target down to an eminently gettable 4 an over from the past four. But when Richard 'the finisher' Austin departed, the dots agonisingly mounted. When the opening bowler returned, things were still in the balance. Until Brad smote him over the trees for a colossal six. Surely the game was in the bag?

Well, no. Brad was bowled with 2 needed and it came down to the final over. Fortunately, Jez ran a single off the first ball, and on the third, Spence chipped one just, just over the heads of the infield and the batsmen scampered through for the winning run. Victory! With two balls and three wickets to spare – a brilliant match. And perhaps, in the end, that wide proved crucial. Guffaw.

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